Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Time for a pause.

For the past two weeks we’ve been traveling through the New-York state at a very fast pace, at least as sailboats are considered. We moved almost every day or if we stayed an additional night in a town it was for finding a supermarket or a Laundromat. In this race through the canals toward New-York City we may have forgot the very purpose of this trip, which is to take our time to see the world. Well, if you click on our picture tab you will see some of the pictures we took along the way and some of the places are quite pretty. If you liked the lighthouse picture in our previous post, you will like the other ones we crossed along the Hudson River.

Upstate New-York is simply a beautiful place where nature and man seems to be in peace with each other. The wildlife we encountered so far was mainly composed of birds of all kinds meaning their own business or getting upset when the boat is getting too close to them. Canadian geese are pretty notorious about yapping when you disturb them. We also got a new species of spider on board. I must tell you that spiders just love boats. If you leave the boat alone for a few weeks you will find the place taken by probably a hundred spiders scattered all over the place. Obviously since we started to live on the boat full time we initiated a formal arachno-genocide in order to impose our supremacy on the premises. So far we’ve been quite successful but total alienation is a futile goal and new ones are getting in regularly but at a very tolerable rate. The new spiders we saw for the past few days are what we call the ant-spiders because they walk and look like black ants. They differ with the other kind of spiders in the fact that they wander in front of us in bright day light. In arachno-genocide time it is not a really good evolution attribute!

So we thought that before rushing further we should maybe take a few days “off” and relax a bit. We stopped in a little town called Croton-On-Hudson where we can find a pretty good anchorage spot and where there is marina called Half Moon Bay Marina that we can use as a mail drop for ordering parts. We actually took one night at the marina in question to resupply in water and have access to the internet. The place is nice but the wireless connection really needs to be improved. The reception where the boat was moored is very poor and we had to take our laptop with us on the dock and sat just beside the antenna. There we had a very good connection but the only drawback was that after a while we realized that what we were leaning on was actually the garbage bins where people would come and drop a bag every other five minutes. Let’s say that this was quite an incentive to get our part orders through as fast as we could and return to the boat. A last note about Half Moon Bay Marina is we would like to thank Steve the Marina Manager who really helped us with our needs and who even managed to get us a cell phone from Radio Shack that we can use simply by buying the minutes. The phone itself cost only $20!We ordered many boat parts and we will just go at anchor in the bay for a few days waiting for the delivery. But the main parts we need are two battens for the main sail. A batten is a fiberglass strip that we slide inside the main sail to stiffen it. Without them the sail would be unstable and would flap all the time. On our way to Croton-On-Hudson we actually sailed most of the way until we realized that one of the batten was half way out of its sleeve. The only way to lower the main sail is to turn the boat straight into the wind and so we did. Not 5 seconds after we started lowering the sail we heard a “bing, blong and plouffe”. Well, fiberglass doesn’t float and the Hudson River now has a new inhabitant. While looking at the newly missing batten we noticed that another one was also missing. You can maybe sail with one missing batten but not two. So we motored the rest of the way to the village and at about 5 miles from our destination we heard a sort of police siren just behind us. Well guess what, it was exactly the sheriff’s boat. It was a good thing we just had dropped our drug cargo in the morning! Just kidding. They stopped us pretty much because we were Canadian and they needed to conduct some inspections on boats to ensure they comply with all safety requirements. Danielle took care of the officer while I was chatting travel with the other one who had to stay in their boat. Everything went well except the fact that our flares were expired for a month (they are good for four years so it is not a big deal) and the fact that Danielle knew more about sailing permits in the USA than the officer himself! In this case it is understandable since the officer is a policemen and not a border officer. However, the fact is that Danielle now knows more about boat permits and registration than most border officers who actually deliver them. But this would be too long a story to tell for now.
Just one last note. Internet connections are sometime quite difficult to get so we may be off line for the next few days. You can see here Danielle in a park getting Internet in Oswego from a café nearby. Finally, thanks to everyone who follow us regularly. We see our website counter increasing quite fast and this is a real encouragement to us.